Cecelia was born on July 31, 1918, in Belle Fourche, South Dakota to William and Cecelia Closson. She spent most of her childhood in Sundance, Wyoming. After her parents passed away, she graduated high school from a boarding school in Nebraska. Her aunt Elsie brought her and her brother, John, to Bellingham, Washington, to attend Washington State Normal School (Western Washington University) where she graduated with a degree in Education. She taught in elementary schools in Maple Falls, Sumas and Ferndale, Washington, before teaching in Germany and Japan. Cecelia returned to Bellingham where she met and married Bernard L. DeGrave in 1954. They moved to Vancouver, Washington, where they raised their sons. Cecelia continued to teach in the Vancouver area, where she retired from the Vancouver School District.
In their retirement, she enjoyed travelling with Bernard, and was an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes. Cecelia was a member of Catholic Daughters of America and participated with Bernard in various veterans’ organizations such as Pearl Harbor Survivors and 40 et 8. She was also an active member of the Retired Public Employees Association.
Cecelia is survived by her loving husband, Bernard; her sons, Brian (Julie) of Vancouver, Washington, Kent (Janet) of Bothell, Washington, and Kevin (Sharon) of Ferndale, Washington; grandchildren Kimberly (Ryan) Crabtree, Sarah DeGrave, Christopher Ostrom and Olivia DeGrave; and Cecelia’s niece and nephews. Cecelia was predeceased by her parents, William and Cecelia Closson; and siblings, Elizabeth, William and John Closson. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at Our Lady of Lourdes on August 13, 2013. Funeral arrangements by Hamilton Mylan Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to: Angels for Education, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 4723 NW Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA 98663.